Auction Alert: Fantastic Francotte 45Es at Julia’s, 10/2…

12 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

In 1875, Westley Richards introduced the Anson & Deeley double barrel shotgun and revolutionized side by sides. But even though an English firm invented the A&D action, I’ve always thought it was the Belgian and Prussian makers who perfected it .

One of these makers was Francotte. The Anson & Deeley doubles they made are some of the finest boxlock side-by-sides you can buy. Because of the crazy way people value things today, they’re also some of the best deals on the market.

20 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

These three Francotte 45Es coming up at James Julia’s 10/2 auction are a great example of what I mean:

SCARCE FRANCOTTE 45e 28 GAUGE EAGLE GRADE GAME GUN WITH CASE

LIGHTWEIGHT FRANCOTTE 45e 20 GAUGE EAGLE GRADE GAME GUN

FINE FRANCOTTE 45e 12 GAUGE EAGLE GRADE GAME GUN

The 45E, or Eagle Grade, was the king of thebloxlock  Francottes imported by Von Lengerke & Detmold. Their signature features were  highly carved fences covered with game-scene & scroll engraving and a gold-inlaid eagle on the bottom of the action. On top of this, these guns were built with extras like intercepting safety sears, Greener-style crossbolts, replaceable hinge pins, side clips, and nicely figured European walnut. All the work on these side-by-sides was top notch, too.

28 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun
28 gauge Francotte 45E Eagle Grade Double Barrel Shotgun

Back when these Francotte 45Es were imported into this country, they were one of the most expensive boxlocks in Von Lengerke & Detmold’s store. Their price easily exceeded just about all the American doubles. The same was true with their quality. In fact, I think these Francottes beat them all. Today, people aren’t willing to pay the say premium for them. Most guys will put down more for a mid grade Parker than they would for any of these Eagles. That’s a shame because they will not be getting a better shotgun.

Hemingway’s Double Rifle brings $295,000+…

James Julia auctioned this piece of firearm/literary/American history today: this Westley Richards droplock double rifle in .577 Nitro Express that was once owned by Ernest Hemingway. The gun hammered down for $295,000. That’s without the buyer’s a premium of 15%. So whoever bought Papa’s mammoth double dropped  around $340,000 to get it. Those are some deep pockets.

Hemingway's .577 Nitro Express Westley Richards Double Rifle
Hemingway's .577 Nitro Express Westley Richards Double Rifle

The gun would probably be worth $70,000 – $80,000 without the provenance. And who would ever want at .577 NE double rifle with a single trigger? Facing down a charging elephant is no time to run a quality check on something like that.

You can read more about Hemignway’s monster double in this article from Garden & Gun magazine.

If you really want a .577 and you missed out on Hemingway’s gun, go to Schwandt Classic Arms and take a look under double rifles. There you’ll see a better rifle for about half the money. It’s a Holland & Hollandy Royal in .577NE. It’s a sidelock (droplocks are over rated) AND it has double triggers. I’ve seen this gun in person and it’s awesome.

I don’t know if I would want to shoot a .577 NE , though. I’ve fired a .470 NE double rifle and that gun bounced my brain around pretty well. Anything more than that is too much for me.

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